Normally, when I write about what I eat in a day on a vegan keto diet, I just talk about food. Recently, I seem to be getting an increase of questions regarding what specific supplements I take on a daily basis. So, I figured this was as good a time as any to do a little “what I eat in a day” post, but only talking about supplements. I also wanted to post this because I feel like there are so many ads out there that make it seem like you have to take a bunch of supplements and powders every day to maintain ketosis, and that’s just not true. While there are loads of supplements that do make a ketogenic diet esier, you can certainly do keto without them.
I’ve mentioned this in a few places before, but I really prefer to keep my supplement routine as simple as possible. I don’t love the idea of taking a drugstore’s worth of pills each morning and I also enjoy not spending tons of money. So, everything I take is for a specific reason, and I really try to focus on eating a variety of whole foods to obtain sufficient nutrition. I also like to try and optimize things every once in a while, so this specific set of supplements could change in time. I also just want to mention that this is not a sponsored post at all and I haven’t received any money from any of these companies. These are the brands I trust and so I want to share them. 🙂
As a quick note – I didn’t include things like protein powders, greens powder or any other food-based supplement I take, because I don’t use any one of those every single day, and because those are typically listed in my “what I eat in a day” posts. This also includes things like turmeric or ginger (which I either cook with, or drink in tea-form). It’s also important to mention that I’m not a doctor and this post is in no way to be taken as medical advice. It is informational in nature and is just my experience with supplements. You should talk to your doctor about any supplements you want to take. 🙂
With that out of the way, I’ll list out my little daily routine here, and then elaborate below. These are the supplements I take daily, and then two optional supplements I take on an as-needed basis.
- B12 spray
- D drops
- electrolyte pill
- MCT oil in coffee
- (sometimes) electrolyte powder
- (sometimes) multivitamin
I’ve talked about the importance of taking B12 so many times I’m starting to feel like a broken record (does that reference still work?). The bottom line is that while there are some studies that claim you can obtain B12 from plant sources, there aren’t enough for me to feel confident in this, so I supplement with a B12 sublingual spray. This one is made by Garden of Life, a company whose products I have always trusted and enjoyed.
You don’t have to use the spray, but I find many other forms of B12 are either tablets or gummies that contain a little too much sugar to justify. Most vegan multivitamins also contain B12, so if a multi is part of your daily routine, then you can skip this. 🙂
While during the summer months, I make an effort to soak up some sunshine, the rest of the year, I supplement with vitamin D drops. I have been a long-time fan of this one from Nordic Naturals, another high-quality brand. It has an apple taste, which some people find weird, but I like.
In the past six years of going in and out of ketosis (sometimes after several weeks of higher carb eating, for various reasons), I have never experienced the keto flu. I’ve had some mild symptoms for sure (a passing headache or a moment of light-headedness), but never anything lasting or even anything that really hampered my ability to go about my normal routine. I attribute this to taking electrolytes and staying properly hydrated.
Back when I first started keto, I would get electrolytes from either sports drinks or post-workout supplements. These tasted pretty good and did the trick. Recently though, in the interest of streamlining my supplement intake, I’ve switched to taking an electrolyte pill in the morning every day instead. This just makes things easier and limits ingredients.
The one I take is from Codeage. I really like this brand because they employ extensive third-party testing to ensure the quality of all of their products* and because their electrolytes contain no filler ingredients, artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners or preservatives. They’re also made in the US, which is nice. I take one pill every morning.
I haven’t always taken MCT oil. In fact, when I tried one years ago in my coffee, I wasn’t really a big fan. I didn’t know you shouldn’t take a full tablespoon right out of the gate, and didn’t feel my best as a result. Recently, a few of you mentioned to me how much you enjoy taking MCT oil in the mornings, so I thought I’d give it another go. The benefits to MCT (medium chain triglycerides) come from the fact that they don’t need to be processed by the liver and therefore are more readily and easily converted to ketones and used for energy (there’s a great writeup about this on the Codeage website here). Since this isn’t an MCT oil post, I’ll refrain from talking too much about it. But, be on the lookout – I’ve got a dedicated MCT post coming next week!
Basically, a few weeks ago, I started adding 1 tsp of MCT to my coffee in the morning. I’ve really noticed an increase in energy and a decrease in hunger. I practice intermittent fasting and have noticed that I’m able to fast for 2-3 hours longer, just with the addition of MCT oil. The increase in energy is a nice bonus as well, because I recently started making my coffee half-caf and switching to decaf after the first cup, so I was a little worried about feeling run down and tired while I adjusted.
I’ve been using a pure C8 (one type of MCT, caprylic acid – fun story, all MCTs have names deriving from capra, the Latin word for ‘goat’) and have really been enjoying it. I’ve also been blending it into an “occasional” (read: near-daily) keto hot chocoate and it blends really well there. It’s from the same company as the electrolyte pills, so they have the same testing and quality standards.* The MCT oil is also produced without solvents, which I really like.
*I actually talked to one of their co-founders, who told me about their stringent testing procedures and quality standards.
You’ve probably seen me mention that I use an electrolyte powder in my water from time to time. This used to be the only way I took electrolytes, but I’ve been trying to avoid using a sweetener (yes, even stevia) every day, so I’ve been limiting my use of electrolyte powders. I do still like to use these on days where I’m working out more, or where I’m actively seeking out a non-water beverage. Sometimes you just want a fun-tasting drink, and why not make it functional as well? The electrolyte powder I’ve been using for years is the one from Ultima. It was a recommendation from a friend of mine who worked as the supplement manager at my local health food store, and it’s been working for me ever since!
There are some days where I will admit, I don’t eat the best. It could be because I’m recipe testing some bake good, or because I just didn’t pay attention to what I was eating and realized at the end of the day that I was a little low in a lot of micronutrients. On those days, I like to take a multivitamin as a sort of insurance policy to make sure that I’m giving my body what it needs. I like this one from Garden of Life, but there are plenty of vegan multivitamins to choose from.
How about you? I’m curious what your supplement routine is and what brands you use! There are tons available and it’s always nice to explore what’s out there. 🙂